Toledo vs. Notre Dame Men's Basketball Preview
TOLEDO (3-1) VS. NOTRE DAME (4-1)
2018-19 Records: Notre Dame (14-19); Toledo (25-8)
Where: Purcell Pavilion, South Bend, Ind.
Time/TV/Internet: Tonight, 8:30 p.m. EST; Available on the ACC Network, UND.com, Sirius/XM Radio Channel 989
Series Facts: The Irish lead the series 4-1, the last meeting coming in the 1979 Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament at the old Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. The other four meetings were between 1933 and 1966
Both Notre Dame and Toledo enter tonight’s game having beaten the other three teams — Howard, Robert Morris and Presbyterian — that are taking part in this year’s five-team Men Against Breast Cancer round-robin event, making tonight the “championship” game.
The Irish defeated the aforementioned three teams by an average of 24.6 points per game. Toledo beat this trio by an average of 28 points per game.
NOTRE DAME OVERVIEW
Toledo will mark the fifth game of a six-game home-stand for the Irish. Notre Dame has claimed the first four with little drama but Irish head coach Mike Brey admitted to some player fatigue Monday night after his shorthanded group survived Presbyterian, 63-53.
Including tonight, Notre Dame’s previous five games during this home-stand came in the span of only 13 days.
Some good news for Notre Dame is that standout senior forward John Mooney — the reigning ACC and National Player of the Week — is expected to return after missing Monday’s game with a stomach ailment.
Sophomore guard Robby Carmody, who also sat out Monday, is expected to be back in the lineup tonight.
Toledo enters this game off of an impressive 112-68 win over Howard to cap its third straight convincing victory in this five-team round-robin, pool-play style tournament.
The 112 points were the most the Rockets had scored in 26 years.
A veteran group that features terrific scoring balance, Toledo returned three starters this season from a team that won the Mid-American Conference West Division Title last year under 10-year head coach Tod Kowalczyk.
Toledo won a school-record 48 games over the last two seasons, and its 25 victories last year rank second in school history.
Junior guard Marreon Jackson leads Toledo with 18.8 points per game and ranks fifth nationally with 8.0 assists. The Rockets feature four players averaging at least 13 points.
Brey has bragged throughout this season about his team’s solid defensive approach, suggesting this might be the best defensive team he has ever coached.
Brey will put that theory to the test tonight when he faces a Toledo offense that will be the most balanced and explosive his Irish have faced this season.
The Rockets enter tonight with the No. 15 scoring offense in the country at 88.8 points per game. Meanwhile, the Irish rank No. 53 in the country in scoring defense, allowing only 59.6 points per outing.
Toledo 74, Notre Dame 70
*The stakes were much higher the last time these two teams met. No. 4 Notre Dame beat No. 19 Toledo, 79-71, to go the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Kelly Tripucka paced the Irish with 24 points.
*Toledo ranks second in the nation with a 47.3 three-point field-goal percentage (as of Nov. 18) and was 17th with 10.8 made three-pointers per game.
*The battle inside between Mooney and standout Toledo forward Like Knapke will be a good one. Mooney averages 16.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. Knapke is getting 15.8 points and 8.3 boards.
“They’re really well-coached and they’re old. They know who they are and they shoot it. I told our guys they can win the MAC. They’re coming in here thinking we’re a big win. They’re a big win for us if we can get it. It will be a resume win.” — Coach Brey on a tonight’s talented opponent.